Album Review by Mark Bayross
Dein Schatten is the new one-man project of German Dieter Bornschlegel, AKA Bornzero, former member of seventies rock band Atlantis and cult krautrockers Guru Guru, with a career stretching back 30 years. After two singles, EWIGES EIS is the first Dein Schatten album proper.
Fusing choral arrangements to military beats and, occasionally, heavy guitars, this will have particular appeal to fans of Witt or Rammstein, especially as Bornzero’s German vocals often sound like Joachim Witt or Till Lindemann. Highly melodic throughout, at times the oppressive atmosphere and sampled choirs even evoke the drama of misunderstood Slovenians Laibach.
As with the above-mentioned bands, there is a dark streak of teutonic humour running through this album – all this doom isn’t really supposed to be taken seriously – so the church organ cover of Suzanne Vega (MY NAME IS LUC(FI)A) is obviously meant as a joke. There are also some neat musical touches – the flamenco guitar of the stunning SCHULD UND SÜNDE, the slow-burn backing of strings and spine-chilling female vocals on RESPEKT! – that clearly show this to be the work of a production professional.
From the stomping industrial of DAS TIER or the Die Krupps-sounding FREE to the prog electronica of the title track, this often sounds like a distillation of everything that currently sells on the fringes of the German mainstream. And, unfortunately, therein lies the problem – while bands like Wolfshiem and Das Ich regularly enter the charts in Germany, there are very few other markets, outside possibly Scandinavia, where they have yet to break out of the underground.
The recent signing of Covenant to Sony subsidiary KA2, plus the interest apparently being shown by the majors in VNV Nation (who, by the way, might want to have a good listen to the keyboard line of ABSCHIED…) and Apoptygma Bezerk – not to mention the all-conquering explosion of Rammstein – may give Bornzero some hope that his music will reach a wider audience, but this interest in darkwave may pass very quickly. After all, ten years ago, everyone wanted to sign the new Ministry.
But so what? If you miss out on this, it’s your loss. Mixing elements of Rammstein industrial, Laibach pomp and VNV futurepop, EWIGES EIS is a highly recommended listen.